Mumbai: Manoj Tiwary staked his claims for a spot in the Indian Test team with a determined knock of 93 which helped India A recover from a wobbly start to reach 369 for nine on day one of the three-day game against the touring England cricket team here on Tuesday.
Tiwary's feat came after opener Abhinav Mukund and comeback man Yuvraj Singh, also in the running for the no. 6 slot in the Indian squad, hit quick-fire half centuries after India A skipper Suresh Raina elected to bat after winning the toss at the Brabourne Stadium.
The Bengal captain, looking well-set for a deserving century, tried to play across against England's pacer Tim Bresnan and lost his stumps. He faced 150 balls and hit 11 fours in his 202-minute knock.
At stumps, R Vinay Kumar (25) and last man Parwinder Awana (11) were at the crease.
Tiwary, who came in at the fall of Raina's wicket with India A struggling at 140 for four, pulled the innings together after India A had lost two more wickets at 190 in 47 overs. The middle-order batsman put on a century partnership with Irfan Pathan who made 46 in 113 minutes.
The duo put on a stand of 110 for the seventh wicket in 168 balls, with Pathan striking five fours and two sixes, to take the team past the 300-mark.
Earlier, Mukund made a quick-fire 73 with 16 fours after living dangerously in the beginning, while Yuvraj, dropped first ball by Samit Patel at square leg off Tim Bresnan, slammed four sixes against the spinners and seven fours in his 59 before both these left-handers were claimed by England's main spinner Graeme Swann on either side of lunch.
Yuvraj struck seven sweetly-timed fours and four well-hit sixes, two each off left-arm spinner Patel and Swann, in his 80-ball 59 before the latter exacted revenge by deceiving him in flight and stumped.
JOIN THE DEBATE: YUVRAJ OR RAINA FOR NO.6 SPOT – WHO HAS A BETTER CLAIM?»
Yuvraj, eager to bag the no. 6 spot in the Indian Test batting line-up for the upcoming four-Test series against the visitors, impressed the four selectors present before his impetuosity cost him his wicket. He was stumped while trying to clout Swann, who bowled beautifully, for a second six in the same over.
The other top-order batsmen, including Raina, who is also in the running for the no. 6 slot, flopped.
The home team lost Mukund, Murali Vijay (7) and Ajinkya Rahane (4) in their first session total of 113 and then surrendered the wickets of Raina (20), Yuvraj and Wridhiman Saha (20) in the second session.
Pathan was out leg before to Swann after tea, giving the England off spinner his third wicket after a lengthy stint of near-continuous bowling barring a gap for change of ends.
Bresnan then got rid off Tiwary and next man Ashok Dinda off successive balls to be on a hat-trick. He ended up with impressive figures of 3 for 59 in 20 overs, having earlier taken the wicket of Rahane, while Swann claimed three for 90 in 23 overs.
The other successful bowlers were Samit Patel, who sent back Raina, and James Anderson who got rid off Wridhman Saha.
England XI were handicapped by the right thigh injury sustained by another pacer Steven Finn while fielding. Finn, who bowled just four overs, went off the field after being hurt in the opening session.
In the morning session Mukund, who had a streaky start to his innings before settling down to hit some pleasing shots, struck 16 fours in only 83 balls before Swann dismissed him off what proved to be the last ball before lunch.